Sep 26, 2010

Salsa Timing - 5 Simply Steps To Finding Salsa Timing And Rhythm

In this article I am going to explain the 5 simple steps to finding the correct salsa timing and rhythm. This article is going to cover the most basic aspect of the salsa timing: the rhythm without much discussion about the actual counts of the music. Many people say that to find the rhythm you just have to feel the music. And for some people this advice is good enough. It is true, some people are just naturally gifted to have the intuition and ability to just "feel" the rhythm. However, for others finding and "feeling" the salsa timing and rhythm is actually a skill you have to develop. If you are anything like me and belong to the later group, read on.
Step # 1 - Learn From Someone Who Already Hears The Rhythm
The fastest and easiest way to get started is to ask the help of someone who is already able to recognize the salsa rhythm to verbalize it out loud as you listen to a salsa song.
I like to compare learning to master the salsa timing and rhythm to learning to drive the manual stick shift. In order for the process to come intuitive and easy you first need to be shown how to do it correctly, then practice it with someone who already has mastered the process, and then eventually to continue to practice it on your own until it becomes second nature.
Step # 2 - Relax, Trust, And Set Your Intention On Feeling The Rhythm
There is a lots of truth to the saying that you just have to feel the rhythm. Rhythms are a natural part of who we are. Our bodies naturally in many ways operate in certain rhythms, our hearts automatically beat in a set rhythm, we have an internal sleeping rhythm, the circadian rhythm, etc. In order for us to recognize our heart beat we only need to relax and shift our awareness to it with the intention of recognizing it. If you are not paying attention to your heart beat, you might not even recognize it first. In order to do so, you simply need to relax and shift your attention inwards.
This same concept applies to learning to "feel" salsa rhythm. To hear the salsa rhythm you first have to shift your awareness to the music. Realize, that just like the rhythm of your heartbeat, the rhythms of the salsa are there inherent in the music. All you have to do to feel them is to shift your awareness to them.
Step # 3 - Have A Mental Understanding Of The Rhythm
The rhythm of salsa regardless of the way you choose to count it or emphasize the counts goes: quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow. Having a mental understanding of this rhythmic pattern will help you further to recognize it in the music. As I said in the first step, verbalizing this rhythmically out loud with someone who already understands salsa music will help you tremendously in finding the rhythm. But nowadays you can also find great salsa timing CD's, DVD's, youtube videos, or maybe the best option of all from an on-line learning course to help you get started.
Step # 4 - Verbalize The Rhythm Along As You Hear The Music
The most important thing whether someone else is counting the music for you or you are learning from a salsa timing CD or an on-line learning course, is that you begin as soon as possible verbally expressing the rhythm and/or counting along with the music. This practice will reinforce your ability to recognize and stay in the rhythm.
There is absolutely no substitute for this practice. Even the people who say they just "feel" the music has at some point or another been conscious about the music and through repeatedly hearing it they have overtime learned to just "feel" it.
Step # 5 - Practise, Practise, Practise
Don't expect yourself to just listen one or two songs and then be able to instantly recognize and stay in the rhythm of salsa, especially without conscious effort. It can takes years of conscious practice and effort for this process to become completely natural and automatic. Just like learning to drive the stick shift, at first it is complicated and it takes conscious effort before it becomes automatic, it is the same thing in learning to recognize and continue to stay in the rhythm when you are dancing salsa. But once you master salsa timing, you will never forget it.

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